Down and out from the race to the playoffs and Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017, Gujarat Lions and Delhi Daredevils on Wednesday will clash at Green Park Stadium in Kanpur to play for the lost pride before they end their dismal IPL season.
Delhi Daredevils are languishing in the lower half of the points table — 8 points in 11 games — just above Royal Challengers Bangalore and can blame their consistent inconsistency for the downfall.
With 8 points from 12 games, Gujarat Lions find themselves at the 6th spot and in a state of shock despite an array of cricketing stalwarts in their camp.
Delhi Daredevils will get into tonight’s game with fresh memories from their mayhem they suffered against Mumbai Indians — won by 146 runs after Delhi was bowled out for 66.
Adding to that Coach Paddy Upton and Rahul Dravid have has a tough task of preparing a final line-up after some of their key players have left for home.
South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris and Srilanka’s Angelo Mathews have left to peruse national duties.
Right-handed batsman Sam Billings, who earlier left to play for England, will not be returning to join the Delhi squad anymore as well.
Rahul Dravid will once again look forward to the Indian batsmen in Delhi’s squad to carry the burden for tonight and the two matches they still have to play — against Rising Pune Supergiant and Royal Challengers Bangalore — before the IPL season draws curtains on them.
Sanju Samson and Karun Nair are once again expected to open the innings for Delhi.
Samson has been in a good form — 374 runs in 11 matches —throughout the season giving Delhi the essential starts early in the innings, however, the Impressive right-handed batsman is also throwing away his wicket in an attempt to score more boundaries per over.
The middle order will be led by the Rishab Pant (281 runs in 11 matches) and Shreyas Iyer (207 runs in 9 matches).
It’s high time that the talent of Iyer and Pant comes into play and they log out the season on a good note.
One advice that Dravid must have already given them — start putting a value to your wicket, instead choosing to throw away a good start.
The batting line up for Delhi has been disappointing despite the hub of young talent. The lack of consistency in has marred Delhi’s fate and a chance to end this IPL season on a high.
What has been more disturbing is the failing of strong bowling line up. Daredevils management invested a lot to strengthen their bowling attack which has been playing under power so far.
Not so far away, Gujarat Lions have signed in for an IPL nightmare this season. The only that thing that seems to be heading their way is the disappointment and more disappointment.
Suresh Raina led Gujarat has lost matches from the improbable situation. The team has have lost close encounters; lost after a good show by bat; lost after a good show by bowlers — courtesy to lack of all round performance like a similar looking side Mumbai Indians sitting on top of the points table.
Coming into the match today, Gujarat will be fairly pleased with the win in their last fixture against Kings XI Punjab — won by 6 wickets.
Coach Brad Hodge and skipper Suresh Raina will want to settle for nothing less before they part ways until the next season, next year.
Gujarat has a very deep batting line-up and has scored a good number of runs on the board far in the tournament.
Gujarat will be playing without the services of their flamboyant opener Brendon McCullum — suffered injury.
Suresh Raina has so far led the pack with the bat — 434 runs in 12 matches — but has not fared so well when it comes to marshalling his troops o the field.
Ishan Kishan (182 runs 9 runs) will once again open the inning with Dwayne Smith (177 runs in 10 matches) with an aim of taking Gujarat off to a good start within the first six overs.
The middle order of Gujarat will rotate around skipper Raina, Aaron Finch and Dinesh Karthik.
The bowling attack of Gujarat has looked ordinary except for Basil Thampi who has impressed everyone — 10 wickets in 11 matches — with his performance this season. Rest of the bowlers appear to be playing second fiddle to Thampi in the team.
With a team like that, it is highly unlikely why Gujarat should be not among the top performers instead has been having a bad day at work — every day!
This is the first IPL game of this season to be played at Green Par Stadium in Kanpur.
Both Zaheer Khan and Suresh Raina will come to express themselves freely and give a fresh starts to their yet another exit from Indian Premier League.
For a short closure, desperate times call for desperate measures — in this case, scintillating cricket.